Who Should The Raptors Trade For at The Deadline?

The Toronto Raptors can trade for plenty of players at the trade deadline, but should they?

The Toronto Raptors are unlikely to make a big trade, and that's okay. It's not that the Raptors don't have trade assets, because this team is packed with talent. It's that the Raptors probably shouldn't be trading away their future, or guys who can help the Raptors win now.

Note: There are very few scenarios where the Raptors would be willing to part with Pascal Siakam and for good reason. He's the Raptors' best long-term asset.

There are numerous players that could be available at the trade deadline, but how many actually make sense for the Raptors?

Group 1: Guys Who Don't Fit

The Raptors don't need another point guard or center. They are three deep at either spot with Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Delon Wright at point guard (although Wright is being regularly used at shooting guard out of necessity). And then the Raptors have Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, and Greg Monroe at center. Could the Raptors upgrade those third stringers? Sure, but when rotations shrink in the playoffs it won't really help.

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin is a ball dominant guard who isn't really a threat from deep and isn't a good defender. He's not a bad basketball player, but the fit isn't there from a basketball standpoint. On the flipside, he'd be very easy to market to the city of Toronto, which has a significant Asian population. That's probably a tactic better used when the team is mediocre and needs help selling tickets and merchandise.

Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon is a solid defensive big, but doesn't provide much offensively. Somebody that needs a backup center should trade for him, but that isn't going to be the Raptors.

Terry Rozier

Terry Rozier is a decent defender, but opposing defenders aren't scared of him. This season Rozier has struggled with efficiency and has never been an above average playmaker. The Celtics probably don't want to pay him this summer, so they may look to trade him to a young team that needs a point guard. The Raptors have no incentive to help the Celtics.

Cody Zeller

Cody Zeller is currently injured. Much like Dedmon, he's a good defender, but makes double the money. On the plus side, Cody is the best Zeller in the NBA and is still only 26 years old. His problem, much like Mason Plumlee, is he's too good to be a backup, but not good enough to be a starter. The Raptors already have an injured center. They don't need another.

Robin Lopez

Robin Lopez has seen a reduced role on the Bulls this season, so it's hard to tell if he's still good. Robin probably isn't the same defensive player he once was. It will be interesting to see which team takes a shot at him. It likely won't be the Raptors.

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond is an elite rebounder and very good defensive player despite the Pistons getting destroyed at the rim. In the right situation, he's a valuable player. That situation isn't the Detroit Pistons. That situation probably also isn't the Raptors because the shooting isn't here to put around him.

Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson is a below average starting point guard, but it's hard for anyone to view him as a backup based on his salary. If the Raptors were going to get a point guard from the Pistons it would be Jose Calderon so they can retire his number.

Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis Smith was a highly rated prospect. As a rookie, he put up raw counting stats on a bad Mavs team, but wasn't efficient and struggled defensively. We don't really know at this point if he will develop into a good NBA player, but some young team will take a shot on him if the Mavs aren't willing to stick it out. If everything goes sideways for the Raptors this season they could be interested in Smith this summer, but currently, he doesn't make sense.

Gorgui Dieng

Gorgui Dieng has seen his minutes get slashed over the last couple of years. He's still fine defensively, but doesn't do much else. It feels like the Wolves have had buyer's remorse immediately after throwing a lot of cash his way (he's in year two of a 4-year, $62.8 million deal). He's probably better than Greg Monroe, but the Raptors can afford to have Monroe on the roster because he's making the veteran minimum. They cannot afford a 3rd expensive center.

Patrick Beverley

Patrick Beverley isn't having a good season and the Clippers won't make it a priority to re-sign him in the offseason. He's still a physical defender who will get under the skin of whoever he is guarding. As much as I like him as a player, the Raptors have no need for him.

Mike Conley

Mike Conley has been a fringe all-star in the Western Conference for probably the last 5 years. The last time Kawhi and Conley went at it in the playoffs it felt like a chess match, but somebody might have gotten rooked. What would be the trade here that makes sense? Let's say hypothetically that the Raptors would be willing to trade Lowry for Conley. The Grizzlies wouldn't do it because if they are blowing it up they'd likely want young players and/or picks. There's just no logical fit for a trade here.

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol is still good, but his shooting has fallen off a cliff over the last two months. Again, there's probably not a trade here with the Grizzlies.

Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz may or may not be injured. Markelle Fultz may or may not be a bust, but the Raptors certainly don't need the drama that surrounds him.

Group 2: Are We Sure He's Good?

Kent Bazemore

Kent Bazemore is currently injured, but is expected to return this season. What actual proof do we have that he is good? Well, last year he shot well from three on the worst team in the Eastern Conference, so that's a start. In theory, he's a good defender and he's definitely above average, but it's probably not enough to make him an impactful player on a good team. There's no trade that would make sense here for the Raptors considering what his paycheck is.

Allen Crabbe

Allen Crabbe's season has been derailed by injuries. Over his career, he's been a three-point shooter and nothing else. The Raptors already have CJ Miles.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has become a dinosaur, but he won't be a Raptor. In 2019, wings are required to shoot, MKG doesn't do that.

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker doesn't want to play defense and it could end up costing him his job in the NBA. His hometown Chicago Bulls have given up trying to develop him. I don't know if you have watched the Bulls, but they aren't good and neither is Jabari. His career has been plagued with injuries and he just returned from another one, but that may not last.

Rodney Hood

Rodney Hood has been injured or ill over a significant portion of his career. It seems like he's constantly questionable to play. He's an okay shooter, but wouldn't be worth the headache for the Raptors.

JR Smith

JR Smith's career ended in the finals. His basketball IQ is famous for being not good. Insert LeBron James meme.

Wayne Ellington

Wayne Ellington shot the ball well last year for a scrappy Heat team. This season he isn't shooting as well and has fallen out of the rotation. If you cannot consistently get minutes for the Miami Heat, you ain't getting minutes for the Raptors.

Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans had a career year last season for an injury-ravaged Grizzlies team. This year he has returned to his inefficient self on a better Pacers team. He's going to hurt whoever he's playing for on both ends.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Tim Hardaway seems to be a very polarizing player. Bill Simmons claims Hardaway would be more efficient in a different role. However, Hardaway has never really been efficient over the course of his NBA career. Furthermore, he's not a good defender. If a team is willing to take on his sizable contract they are taking a big gamble. The Raptors don't need this kind of risk.

Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter is a bad defensive player. He can rebound the basketball, but unless he starts hitting threes he probably doesn't have a place in the NBA. Hedo Turkoglu faked injury with the Raptors and is now trying to aid Turkey in the capture and possibly murder of Kanter. If Kanter is bought out by the Knicks we have to give him asylum, with a minimum contract, so Turkoglu doesn't win. And keeping Kanter seems like the right thing.

Terrence Ross

In theory, Terrence Ross is good. In theory, taxing citizens is good. Terrence Ross once dropped 51 points for the Raptors in a loss to the Clippers which pretty well sums up his career. He can put up meaningless stats in a loss, but when you need him he's a no-show. And when it's the playoffs the mental mistakes are very transparent. The stats would make you believe Terrence Ross has some value. Sometimes stats lie.

Jonathon Simmons

Jonathon Simmons had to pay to tryout in the G-League. The Spurs made him look like an NBA player, but with the Magic, Simmons has looked like the G-League was where he belonged. The Raptors don't need a wing that cannot shoot.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was hitting threes at a nice clip last year after exiting prison; it may be time to lock him up again. Not only has KCP's shooting dipped this season, but the thing that he was known for - "his defense" - just magically disappeared. The Lakers don't want him anymore and I'm not sure who would.

Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson is hard to write off because he's young and shown flashes. He can certainly put up stats when a game has gotten out of hand, but in competitive games, his inefficiency continues to show. He's not good, but there are probably some other bad teams out there willing to take a shot on him. He wouldn't get minutes if he were on the Raptors.

Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre has been playing his best basketball with the Suns. The Suns clearly aren't in love with him because they made it clear they wanted Brooks in the famous "wrong Brooks" trade. Oubre is a replacement level player and the Raptors don't need Delon Wright's son on the roster.

Dragan Bender

Dragan Bender is really bad and the Suns have quit on him in less than three seasons. Bender is looking like a bust just like Jonathan Bender, who the Raptors drafted for the Pacers in 2005. Maybe it's the name? Either way, no NBA team should be interested.

Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert was looking like he was headed out of league prior to getting traded to the Kings. He's been hitting threes, but he shouldn't be trusted based on his track record. It would be surprising to see the Kings get value for him.

Thon Maker

Thon Maker has demanded a trade after falling out of the rotation for the Bucks this season. It may seem strange to us Raptors fans as we have seen him succeed against us on multiple occasions. Maker is a good defensive presence who hasn't quite figured things out on offense yet. It's hard to imagine the Raptors trading with the Bucks. Aside from that, if Maker ever puts it all together he could end up being the next Myles Turner.

Group 3: Injuries Ended Him

Wes Matthews

Wes Matthews hasn't been the same player since tearing his Achilles. He was once a two-way player, but now he doesn't do much besides hit threes.

Solomon Hill

Solomon Hill isn't the same player he was when he was on the Pacers. In fact, it was the playoff series against the Raptors that got him paid by the Pelicans. A hamstring injury has left him a shell of himself. He wouldn't earn minutes on the Raptors.

Brandon Knight

Brandon Knight wasn't a great player before he tore his ACL, but he's pretty well unplayable now. The Rockets will try to use his contract as salary filler for whatever deal they make. The Rockets are buyers rather than sellers. That doesn't help the Raptors.

Group 4: He's Old & Washed

Ryan Anderson, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, Marcin Gortat, Pau Gasol, and Courtney Lee.

These guys are more washed than a surgeon's hands. Would you take them if you could have them for free? I wouldn't.

Group 5: He's Good, But...

Free The Frenchman

Nic Batum is ridiculously overpaid, but he is shooting the ball better this season with lower usage. However, he's been really inconsistent and you have to wonder if age is playing a factor here, as he's now 30-years-old. He's not worth the gamble with how much money he's owed. It's sad because prior to getting traded to the Hornets it leaked that he wanted to play for the Raptors.

Not Your Average Joe

Joe Harris has been one of the best shooters in the league this season. It's unclear if the Nets would even be interested in trading him, but if they were, several teams would get in line to make an offer. If the Raptors were to offer Norman Powell and a 2nd round pick the Nets would just say no. There's probably not a deal here that makes sense.

Better With Age

Thad Young wouldn't fill a specific skill of need for the Raptors, but he's just a really good impactful player. The Pacers may be willing to deal Thad as he's on an expiring contract. In fact, he wanted to opt-out last summer and take less money per year to stay with the Pacers long-term, but they weren't interested even after he performed at a high level in the playoffs for them. With Victor Oladipo out for the season, it makes sense that the Pacers could see what they could get for Thad. Would a deal focused around Delon Wright be enough (throw in CJ Miles & Malachi Richardson for salary filler)? Darren Collison and Cory Joseph are free agents this summer so Indiana may want to explore options for a long-term solution at point guard. Delon is also a free agent, but he's restricted so the Pacers could match any offer if they were to trade for him. Ultimately it's probably not enough to get the Pacers to pull the trigger.

Ready To Fly Porter

Otto Porter has become a really underrated two-way player because the Wizards decided to back up the Brinks truck for him. If the Wizards are looking to get off of salary, Porter would be the guy because nobody is touching John Wall or Ian Mahinmi at this point. Would the Wizards take Norman Powell, CJ Miles, Greg Monroe, and Malachi Richardson to save some cash? Maybe? If not, what about Serge Ibaka straight up for Porter? Porter could really fix the Raptors' shooting woes and Ibaka isn't quite as good as he was at the start of the season. The major issue here is the Raptors need Valanciunas to return from injury to be covered at the center position. It could be the best time to sell on Ibaka because his value is at an all-time high in a Raptors uniform. If you think Ibaka's body will hold up deep into the playoffs and he'll continue playing at this level you probably aren't interested in this deal. However, it's hard to forget him disappearing towards the end of last year and being atrocious in the playoffs aside from game one against the Wizards. The Wizards might not even want Ibaka, but I think it's worth checking in on Otto Porter.

Starvin' For Marvin

Marvin Williams is a low usage player who is decent on both ends of the floor, and his three-point shooting would really come in handy for Toronto. The Hornets tried to get off a bunch of bad contracts last deadline including Marvin Williams. If the Hornets are looking to save money could the Raptors steal him for CJ Miles, Malachi Richardson, and Greg Monroe? There is speculation that they will be buyers at this deadline, but why would they want to damage their future just to lose in round one of the playoffs?

Are We Sure He's Getting Traded?

No Deal On Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal has been a name floating out there when he might not actually be available. The Wizards aren't good, but really have no incentive to force a trade since they have control over Beal until the summer of 2021. Of course, if they got a great offer they might be inclined to take it, but the Raptors really shouldn't be mortgaging their future until they know whether Kawhi Leonard will re-sign or not.

No Love Lost

Kevin Love appears to be close to returning from injury. The Cavs are really bad and you have to assume they'd be interested in acquiring assets for the future. He would provide shooting and rebounding which the Raptors could use. However, his history of injuries has become alarming especially when you consider he's owed over $140M between now and the summer of 2023. To take on this kind of risk your organization has to be super desperate. The Raptors ain't that.

2019 AD

Anthony Davis could be available at some point in the next 13 months. Is it likely the Raptors will trade for him if and when he does? No, but it's not impossible. At the very least the Raptors could inflate the price of Davis and force the Celtics into giving up a package that includes Jayson Tatum. This is the reason the Raptors should save their assets. Even if the odds of the Raptors landing Davis is extremely low they could offer a package built around Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. If the Raptors could re-sign Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green you'd have to think those guys are off limits as well as Kyle Lowry. Everyone else could be up for grabs for the Pelicans if they were willing to give up Davis. This has to be the dream if you are a Raptors fan. Just think of a starting lineup that includes Lowry, Danny, Kawhi, and Davis. You can wake up now.

Ceiling

There are very few moves that would be wise for the Raptors that also move the needle this season. The Raptors may have swept the Warriors in the regular season, but you are in for a rude awakening if you think that means the Raptors can beat them in the finals this season without adding a superstar. Just getting to the finals has to be good enough for right now. If Durant bolts and Kawhi re-signs we can talk about a title for the Raptors next year.

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